Karthus Middle guide

/!\ Due to the latest patch this article is now outdated and needs a rework /!\

This is a guide for a character in League of Legends.

Karthus the Deathsinger.

Karthus is an AP middle.



  • Aoe damages.
  • Mana efficient if you don't spam without a purpose.
  • A global ulti.


  • Squishy.
  • No escape mechanism.
  • Need to be near close range for a maximal DPS.

Summoner spells

  • Flash: Flash on Karthus will help you to run away if the ennemy can reach you through your W. It can be used as a niche to “engage” too.
  • Ignite: Ignite will be your finisher or it will be used on Heroes like Dr.Mundo or Soraka's healing target.


  • Death Defied (Passive): Karthus can cast spells for free 7 seconds after his death.

An original passive. You usually wait to die to cast your ulti. As your ulti channels for you have to cast it within 4 seconds. If you managed to die at the heart of the battle dealing free damages for 7 seconds is pretty impressive. There is even a version of Karthus called “Zombi Karthus” based on the passive + teleport and revive.

  • Lay Waste (Q): Karthus cast a skill at target area that will explode with a delay of .5 seconds dealing some mini AOE damages as follows: (40/60/80/100/120 +30% AP). The enemy takes twice the damages if he is the sole target. Range: 875. Cooldown: 1. Cost: (20/26/32/38/44) mana.

875 range and 1 second cooldown. It's an obvious poke. You see an animation from the cast to explosion so the enemy has time to avoid it. You will need anticipation to cast it efficiently. The AOE is super narrow here : 50 radius. You also can use it to last hit as it cost close to nothing. With 1 second cooldwon there is the temptation to spam it endlessly. Then you will build around mana pool. Again don't start doing this and focus on doing the most damages over a short period of time.

  • Wall of Pain (W): Karthus cast a long magic barrier for 5 seconds that will slow the enemy crossing it as follows: (40/50/60/70/80% movement speed reduction). The wall lenght grows at every rank as follows: (800/900/1000/1100/1200). The barrier also reduces the magic resistance to anyone who cross it by 15% for 5 seconds.

Range 1000 .Cooldown: 18. Cost: 100 mana.

Your utility skill. the whole Karthus skill is well designed: Many damages/AOE damages right around him and an AOE slow to deal even more damages overtime. You will cast the wall with a 90° angle in front of you. So when you try to escape if the wall is up cast it right on your side the enemy will face the wall on its whole lenght.

  • Defile (E): Toggle on: Karthus deals AOE magic damages aroud himself as follows: (30/50/70/90/110 +20% AP per second). Toggle off: Karthus regains mana upon killing a unit as follows: (20/27/34/41/48 mana restored). Radius: 425. Cost: (30/42/54/66/78 mana per second).

This skill provides you sustain when you don't use it pretty nice! When you activate it the cost per second is pretty hi at the early stages but affordable late game. This skill has a lesser radius than your Auto attack. So during team fights you will have to get closer to seal the maximum DPS. From level 1 with a lvl 1 Q, Q will cost virtually 0 last hitting with and will even provide more mana if you kill two creeps with on cast. That's why Karthus is mana efficient.

  • Requiem (R) (Ultimate): At the end of a 3 seconds channel, Karthus will strike every enemy heroes on the map dealing magic damages as follows: (250/400/550 +60% AP).

The true global ulti! Karthus will strike each enemy hero with this skill, across the whole map. It is the perfect skill to catch low life heroes who thought they escaped safely. There is many hate on this skill and he is often called the “win button”.

Skill Sequence

01 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18
Q x x x x x
W x x x x x
E x x x x x
R x x x

E will consume too much mana from start so you level Q first then W to finish with.


  • On the offensive tree you pick everything AP related. It is the standard AP tree.
  • On the utility tree you are looking for Runic affinity. But I also have to mention an alternate option. If you start with the super safe Crystalline flask + pots you may tweak runic affinity with Alchemist + Culinary master it will be more efficient. As I like to be a menace from start I didn't tried this build much.


The rune page is set as follows:

  • 9X Magic penetration (marks).
  • 9X mana regen per level (seals). You can even take armor reduction of more AP.
  • 9X Flat AP (glyphs). More AP. You can tweak with AP per level or resist magic per level.
  • 3X Flat AP (Quintessences). For more burst.


You start with a Doran's ring + 2 pots. Or a conservative one with Cystalline flask + 3 pots as I said. Then you will buy shoes and you can build Rabadon's Deathcap right away. You also can opt for an early Rod of Ages. It depends on your play style. Karthus have to take some risks for better rewards. So more survavibilty isn't wrong. Anyway you may choose between a Rod of Ages and an Archangel's staff but dont do both. You will pay too much money for extra non-needed mana. Your core build will be: Sorcerer's Shoes + Rabadon Death Cap + Rod of Ages/Archangel's Staff + Rylai's Cristal scepter/Abyssal Scepter. You can also consider Zhonya's Hourglass as you will be able to DPS for 2.5 seconds more with E safely under stasis. Every item on the build has a high cost so you will have to make some choices.

Gameplay mid

Last hit is easy from start with auto attacks and Q. It's is pretty easy to farm with Karthus. As you only have W to escape buy more wards to gain sight on both sides. It really helps you to win your lane. You can zoom out your opponent with Q too. He may gets frustrated if you do this correctly. The interesting part on karthus is while team fighting, your E can deal an astonishing amount of damages but you will have to get really close to the enemies. Position yourself well and adjust to your mates (if they take care of you or not). Thanks to your passive dying whit karthus in a teamfight isn't that bad if you are still well positioned. If you are soloquing keep an eye on the whole map your mates won't always call you for a killing strike with R.

Games | Strategy Game | Multiplayer Online Battle Arena | League of Legends

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